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[UPDATE] Wildfire in southern Turkey under control: minister

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A wildfire fire in Turkey’s south was brought under control on Thursday, some 29 hours after it started, a deputy government minister said, with more than 1,000 people having been temporarily evacuated from the area, local media reported.

Veysel Tiryaki, deputy minister of agriculture, said in a statement at noon on Thursday that the fire in the Gülnar district of the Mediterranean province of Mersin had been contained. The fire led to the destruction of 500 hectares of land.

Twenty-nine helicopters and 11 planes were involved in battling the blaze that started on Wednesday morning, Turkey’s Disaster Management Authority (AFAD) said.

The firefighting effort also involved about 850 personnel and more than 140 vehicles, AFAD said, adding that seven people affected by the fire were being treated at nearby hospitals.

Electricity was cut in some districts as a precaution to protect firefighting personnel during the operation, AFAD also said.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government attracted widespread criticism over their poor response and inadequate preparedness for the large-scale wildfires that ravaged the country’s southern and western coasts in the summer of 2021 and claimed the lives of eight people and thousands of animals, also destroying large swathes of forestland, until they were fully contained days later.

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